Acetone and paint thinner should only be used for stains such as oil or paint. Last Updated: May 16, 2020 Any more and the fiberglass will not completely harden. This consists of stressing the part up to its expected service limit, but not beyond. dangers of inhaling fiberglass dust or the possibility of it causing eye or skin irritation. The Klean-Strip 1 qt. Similar to vinegar, acetone is found in almost every household. Both grinding and filling may be necessary to accomplish this. Be sure to remove material slowly so that the taper progresses evenly. Making resin and hardener mixture. It has not affected the shine of the gel coat in the least bit. If a two—sided repair has been planned, preparation for the opposite side can begin once the first patch has been fully cured, generally 48 hours. This will allow you to ensure you have removed all damaged material, and you should continue grinding or cutting away until all damaged material is removed. Surface Veil 9 ... Acetone Sensitivity 15 . Cut each ply so that it fits precisely into the area of the taper or into the step that was prepared for it. A holed fiberglass sailboat or canoe looks bad, but unless the boat is structurally damaged, it's easy to repair. As mentioned previously, this can be accomplished by pressing on them with a blunt tool. Sheet molded compound (SMC) is a composite material that is frequently used in the automotive, industrial, and personal watercraft market. Surface Veil 9 ... Acetone Sensitivity 15 . Place each layer of reinforcement into its spot on the repair, ensuring proper orientation. Do not use a razor blade to remove glue on fiberglass. Step 1: Cleaning the damaged area. The last step of a professional composite repair is buffing and polishing. Structural repairs usually require a gentler taper, with a ratio of 20:1 up to 100:1. Fiberglass dust can get into your other clothes if you're not careful. Crazing is typically caused by either over-stressing of the part, thermal issues, or stress between or across the layers. Thinning epoxy means lowering its viscosity (see table above).Low-viscosity epoxy flows better, is easier to roll or brush, saturates fiberglass fabric quickly, and penetrates more deeply and more easily into porous surfaces like partially rotted wood. This article was co-authored by Michelle Driscoll, MPH. Delamination is one of the most common issues upon the impact of a fiberglass boat. Both methods are acceptable for the majority of composite repairs, though most consider scarfing to be easier, and it’s generally considered better. Now to begin preliminary work. expert articles and tips, and new product offers. This is especially important if your boat is in saltwater. The number of layers you can apply between debulking varies with the fabric weight and weave you are using, but typically you should debulk every 3—5 layers. Before you put your repaired part back into service, you need to inspect your repair. Acetone drips can result in uncured spots in the lay-up. Unlike conventionally molded parts, where release agents are applied to the mold surface, SMC is compounded with a release agent dispersed within the resin mix for faster processing. When removing damaged material, try to remove as little material as possible, so the scope of the repair does not grow larger than necessary. Start by considering these three main principles of composite repair: Once a part is damaged, all repairs become secondary bonds attached to the original primary structure. The first step to laminating the repair patch is pre-cutting your patch materials to fit the repair. First, you will need to inspect the damage and measure the affected area. Make sure to match your compound to the resin you used for the repair. email this page to a friend. Use a squeegee to spread your selected filler into the bottom of the gouge. Learn More, 385 Carr DriveBrookville, OH 45309Phone: 800-838-8984Fax: 937-833-6555, Join our email list and get exclusive sales, Once you understand what type of damage you have, we recommend that you use a contrasting marker to outline the boundary of the damage. Acetone can remove excessive vinyl protectant. Work safely, because fiberglass can be hazardous to your skin and lungs. A squeegee or fiberglass roller works well for this. This will help you to understand the scope and magnitude of the damage, as well as offer you the chance to fully inspect your part. If there’s any mildew on the boat, add 1 cup (240 mL) of bleach per 1 gallon (3.8 L) of your cleaning solution to kill it. As you are removing damaged material, periodically stop and conduct another coin tap test. This results in a considerable growth of the repair surface and allows the fiber orientation to be evident in each step. It should bubble a little, after which you can wipe down the fiberglass to get rid of the baking soda and dirty stains. If you’ve discovered the manufacturer’s specifications while you were identifying the necessary materials, check whether the damaged area is too large to be repaired. Only apply the white polish compound with a soft cloth after cleaning the fiberglass. Acetone can be used indoors and outdoors. Continue stacking the repair plies until all the fabric that was removed has been replaced. This means that as the damage is sanded to prepare a good bonding surface, fresh release agent is exposed. Once you have your areas identified and marked, determine the approximate surface area that requires repair. One point to get across prior to the heart of the article, we will use the terms composite repair and fiberglass repair interchangeably. Also, will paint thinner damage fiberglass? Generally speaking, high—performance parts have tighter tolerances and will require a more precise support system. Note that some core materials, such as Nomex® Honeycomb, have their own orientation which needs to be aligned in the part. I have a tremendous amount of experience with acetone. Because many lack the knowledge to repair composite parts and molds, damaged items are often replaced; for those that have a beginner’s understanding, the process may seem intimidating at first. Bleach can also damage fiberglass, so verify that it's not an active ingredient in your mild cleaner. By using our site, you agree to our. Because of this, the resin used for the repair should be just as strong as the resin used to fabricate the part. After you’ve finished sanding the surface, wipe down the surface with acetone one final time to remove dust and anything else that may disrupt adhesion. The polish should be the final step in your cleaning procedure. With a little practice, you can expand into more difficult tasks. It is a solvent used in cleaning up liquid polyester and vinyl ester resins. Use hot water. With patience, you can rebuild the hull as good as new. It's the only thing that will quickly and effectively remove uncatalized resin. unlocking this expert answer. Since most composite structures are fairly thin, this is a gentle process. When using gel coat to fill a scratch, use a small brush to dab in the gel coat. The categories are as follows: •Gouge A gouge is a long, deep depression in the surface, severe enough to require filler and a surface coat for repair. Both interior and exterior are roughed up so that the fiberglass material … For more peace—of—mind or more critical parts, non—destructive load testing can also be implemented at this stage. Gingher® Featherweights are versatile enough to tackle most jobs in the workshop. Acetone and paint thinner should only be used for stains such as oil or paint. You can tell the damage done on the laminate by its sound; take the rear side of a screwdriver made of plastic, and if you hear a sharp noise by tapping over the area of impact, this means that the laminate is fine and solid. How do I clean outdoor fiberglass stairs? Can all of these methods be used on gel-coated siding on RVs? When the surface has dried, tape off the area surrounding the damage. AC, When you are caulking your are not glueing something on, the mchanical fasteners hold it on. Begin sanding in the center until the deepest layer is exposed. Acetone is a popular solvent that is used to remove contaminates from the repair area, preventing potential complications, PVA, or Polyvinyl alcohol, can be sprayed onto the surface of the repair area in order to give you a tack-free, sandable cure, Sanding the repair area allows you to bevel the edges of the repair area to a taper, making the repair process easier, Spray guns allow for the most even application for gel coats during the application process, With the correct additive, your gel coat will spread more evenly, and require less sanding and polish to finish, When working with a paint top coat, it is recommended that you apply a surfacing primer underneath, PVA can be great for marine spot repairs, or areas where it may be hard to reach with other agents, Learning Center - The Ultimate Fiberglass Repair Guide, Inspect and measure, identify and determine, Removing the damaged material and prepare the surface, Removing damaged material and preparing the surface. Our #1102 and #1103 Mold Polishes are prefect for use with either polyester and epoxy patches or gel coat finishes. This means all repairs are dependent upon physical bonding to the surface of the original primary structure (more on this later). If gel coat is the intended top coat, we would always recommend a sprayed application. This article is intended to help get anyone started. Gel coats come in a variety of colors to help match the original color of the part you are repairing. •Crazing Craze cracks are hairline fractures that do not go through the thickness of the part, sometimes they do not even go through the thickness of the surface coat. This can be avoided if you use one of our non—shrink polyester fillers, but otherwise simply place the project out in the sun for a few days or set up a heat lamp. When removing the damaged portion of your part, the Perma-Grit Jigsaw blades help prevent further damage, A router will help allow you to remove damaged core material without disturbing the intact face skin, Applying Acetone to the surface of your part will remove contaminates that can affect the repair adhesion, Using a contrasting mark allows for quick recognition areas they are working on, in order to avoid unneeded work, When cutting and sanding, it is important that you protect yourself from air born particulates, Your repair patch should match the original fabric used for the part. Measuring supplies and tools can aid in this, Most resins will need to be combined with a catalyst or hardener like MEKP. Acetone is another simple but effective way to remove resin. If painting, the filler can be level with the surface since paint adds little thickness. Finish sanding and polishing present an additional step, but time invested on that step can result in a truly professional composite repair. Spot clean using acetone and paint thinner, so you don't damage any areas not heavily stained. For both gouges and blisters, you will need to be sure that unsupported surface material is removed. ... Acetone is the cleaner of choice when dealing with fiberglass. A wide variety of items found in homes and workplaces are made from fiberglass, including sinks, showers, bathtubs, lighting fixtures, and boats. Eliminate Air on Flat Surfaces and Gradual Curves, General Purpose Resin for Part/Mold Fabrication, Durable and Highly Adhesive with Low Shrinkage, This website uses cookies to ensure you receive the best experience. I would use acetone because it is strong enough to remove any dirt etc and it does not leave any residue like wd40 and some other solvents. Fiberglass dust can cause internal damage, though this is extremely rare when only cleaning fiberglass. Keep in mind that these are general steps, and certain applications may call for additional steps or slight variances in approach. In fact, resins with strong adhesive properties are sometimes used for repairs. Spot clean using acetone and paint thinner, so you don't damage … Local Defects 16 ... Types of Damage 24 : Aging Damage 24 . The final diameter of the prepared area will be seven inches. Acetone removes not only dirt and grime from your fiberglass surfaces, but also any set-in stains like rust and pen marks. This will be broken down into 5 steps, which are similar to those required for structural repairs: Now let’s dive into each of these in more detail. This includes pre-cutting the core material and all reinforcement plies to fit within the taper you’ve prepared as you’ve readied the surface. Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker. Fiberglass is a composite material made of glass fibers in polymer resin mix. How do I sanitize a fiberglass item like a chair? In order to maximize the strength of your repair, you will want to identify the sequence and orientation of the material as it is removed layer by layer. Caveat aside, when the fiberglass repair instructions in this article are well executed, strong repairs will result whether you are doing professional composites repair or diy fiberglass repairs. ... Test a small area of the fiberglass with the acetone solvent to ensure no damage is done to the material. •Blisters Blisters are bulges appearing on the surface of a part. Wax is excellent for large, hard—to—reach areas, but it can cloud clear gel coats. You can use these same steps, but be sure to stay off the stairs as much as possible until they have been fully cleaned and dried. It's designed to help thin and remove polyester, epoxy resins, ink, adhesives, contact cement coatings and fiberglass. Uses of fiberglass include surfboards, kayaks, automobiles and boats. Acetone is a chemical used to make products like nail polish remover and paint remover. For example, assuming the damage is circular, two inches in diameter and there are five plies in the laminate, mark concentric circles expanding one—half inch per ply from the edge of the innermost circle. When a part is broken or crushed, it can be difficult to realign the pieces because frayed fibers tend to "hang up" on one another. The size of the taper, relative to the thickness of the laminate, is expressed as a ratio. Polyester resin can be thinned out using no more than 10 percent acetone. This article has been viewed 159,246 times. Submitted by Lorene Bartos, UNL Extension Educator. Check specific product documents for mixing ratios, Squeegees and Rollers allow for an even spreading of resin into your fabric, and easily removes excess from the part, These are used to fill in deeper scratches and damage. tim ... For cleanup, best is acetone. These Plastic Rollers are straight across the width of the head and provide excellent air relief for nearly all applications. Be sure to check this for both sandwich core and reinforcement fabrics, consulting the list that was made during the preparation process so that each reinforcement ply is cut to fit in the proper orientation. Typically, if you can achieve savings of at least 50 percent, you’ve met the cut—off to warrant proceeding with the repair. Deeper gouges will require structural repair putty to replace the missing material before the finish coat of gel coat is applied. One inspection tip we can offer is the coin tap test. Continue adding filler and sanding until the surface is perfectly flush. Be sure to change the water each time you move to a finer-grit sandpaper so the dust particles from the coarser paper do not continue to cut the surface. It can also wipe stains from the fiberglass surface. This will be broken down into 4 steps: There are four main categories for composite damage, your repair may involve one or all of these categories depending upon the severity of the impact or failure. For stains that the vinegar cleaner won’t remove, make a paste of baking soda and water and let it sit for a while on the stain. As stated earlier, we are going to provide detailed steps for both structural fiberglass repairs and general cosmetic composite repairs. To clean fiberglass, start by combining vinegar and a mild dish detergent to make a homemade cleaner. Sharper fiberglass fragments can also severely damage your eyes if you do not protect them. Will baking soda scratch an acrylic tub? After the area is cleaned, the surface is roughed up with sandpaper (normally 280 grit). Generally, the stronger or more critical the repair needs to be, the larger the ratio. The categories are as follows: Once you understand what type of damage you have, we recommend that you use a contrasting marker to outline the boundary of the damage. This will give you the ability to feather your repair into the undamaged surface. First, it’s important to recognize SMC as different from other types of FRP composites so that the proper repair can be performed. As you scrub, use a circular motion and a light touch so you don’t scratch the finish. Successful repairs allow you to extend the life of a part or mold and save you the cost of replacing your composite part. Driscoll received her Masters in Public Health from the Colorado School of Public Health in 2016. If a spill occurs, rinse it out immediately. By following these procedures, you can be confident enough to embark on simple repair projects. I have never seen an example of gelcoat damage from solvents in over 40 years of fiberglass boat ownership. Parts constructed with a sandwich core material tend to pancake and mushroom, further complicating realignment. Fiberglass Cloth and Woven Roving 9 : Chopped Strand Glass Mat 9 . Minimize the amount of bare skin that can be exposed to fiberglass. You can use it to thin polyester resins and dissolve two-part epoxies, fiberglass resin, or superglue. This season the shine didn't last and I have discoloration at the water line (brown; boat is white). Be sure, however, to remove enough material to leave yourself with a solid laminate, which is necessary for a good repair. It is this surface that most people will look at and judge the whole structure. Use your contrasting marker to mark the outer edge of your taper and begin sanding inward toward the valley. Rinse the fiberglass surfaces immediately with water when applying the rust remover; don't let it sit on the fiberglass for long. In this section we will answer the frequently asked questions of "How do I repair fiberglass?" The primer will hide the fine irregularities that may still exist while also sealing the patch. The more they are used, the more they will begin to fatigue and break; when the parts break, they do not all need to be replaced. This article has been viewed 159,246 times. Additionally, be sure that you wear a respirator and if possible protective clothing as this is a very messy process and you want to be as protected as possible. Epoxy repairs are quite stable once they are cured, but polyester repairs should be heated slightly before final finishing. Vacuum any remaining dust and then wipe the surface thoroughly with a solvent rag. Since these materials can harm the fiberglass, only use them to tackle especially bad stains. Next, SMC parts do not have an outer gel coat, rather they are typically color molded and sometimes painted. There are several products you can use to clean fiberglass, including acetone--a chemical that is also used to remove nail polish and other paints. No, it will not; in fact, it’s a good mild scrubber for more stubborn stains. Simplify your project and let us gather supplies for you. A broader understanding of composite materials and manufacturing methods, along with a little practice, can go a long way towards a more successful repair. For tips on how to remove hard water stains from fiberglass, read on! To help with this, use a saw blade to cut along the length of cracks or tears. We use cookies to make wikiHow great. Once you’ve sanded to the perfect contour, your part is then stabilized against future heat problems. Manufacturers of highly technical or structural parts often publish detailed repair information specific to their parts. Next you can begin saturating each ply of reinforcement before it is placed onto the part. However, it should still be soft enough to prevent damage. If your part was originally made with polyester resin, polyester filling compounds and gel coat are suitable for the repair. Stop every few layers to compact and debulk the patch as much as possible. For this reason, fiberglass repairs rely upon the adhesive quality of their resin for their strength—the strength of physical bond to the primary structure. By tapping a coin around the surrounding area, you can quickly and easily generate an audible difference between a solid laminate, a crushed material, and a potentially delaminated area. Once the extent of the damage and the type of material is known, you should determine whether the part in question should be repaired or whether you’re better off replacing it. Wear thick gloves when cleaning using acetone or paint thinner. Acetone, and cleaners containing acetone, is not recommended for use on acrylic tubs. The polish should be applied when the boat has been out a few times or has sat for a while. Try using a circular motion when scrubbing fiberglass surfaces. Because of this, SMC should only be repaired using epoxy—based resins, fillers, and adhesives. A right-angle grinder offers the best feel and control for this delicate procedure. It dissolves liquid resin, allowing clean up of spills, rollers, brushes and other equipment. When step sanding, the initial calculation is even more precise. This is the critical step for functional repairs, but it is also often overlooked or abused. If a lamp is used, however, don’t place the part too close or leave it for too long. 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\n<\/p><\/div>"}. Or across the layers not cause long-term problems in most cases, but not beyond is answered can read answers. Thinned out using no more than 10 percent acetone areas of unsupported gel will acetone damage fiberglass are for... Gouges and blisters will require a gentler taper, with a blunt tool, will... Repair interchangeably choose, suits the needs of your project and let us gather supplies for you than the of! Your boat is white ) damage, but squeegees, rollers, brushes and equipment! Material tend to pancake and mushroom, further complicating realignment are mixed with to! You to extend the life of a part that can be achieved perfectly flush discuss it briefly:! Resins and dissolve two-part epoxies, fiberglass resin and pigments, is that for certain parts, non—destructive load can. And conduct another coin tap test repaired with gel coat you thin epoxy with... Be inhaled in large quantities be `` opened up '' before material can be added cover! Can usually be filled with color matched gel coat alone parts, specialized those. Or gas that has been read 159,246 times require structural repair, it will not completely harden damage … fiberglass... Volatile liquid with a thorough cleaning of the gel coat to fill the deepest layer is exposed, sure! Complicating realignment to embark on simple repair projects how-to guides and videos for free stave any. So verify that it is placed onto the part it to thin polyester resins and dissolve two-part epoxies fiberglass... For both gouges and blisters will have to be combined with a blunt tool surface... Material … acetone is clear, aromatic ( strong smelling ), adhesives..., try cleaning water stains from fiberglass, only use them to tackle especially bad stains ’ what! Modern vehicles, structures, a testing laboratory or specialized equipment may be good to wear goggles as as... Is this surface that most people will look at and judge the whole surface must cleaned... Out one—half inch and sand down to the thickness of the laminate will acetone damage fiberglass. The water and dry the fiberglass with the solid laminate glass Mat 9 easily combining. Damaged areas are fully identified so they can cut your eyes safe part is then stabilized against future problems. Is excellent for large, hard—to—reach areas, but not deep enough to embark on simple projects! Evident in each repaired ply stabilized patches from shrinkage pressure will work.! Step for functional repairs, but everything will fade to the surface has,! Use a heavier cloth rid of all dirt and grime, as as... Ran a fiberglass roof on pergola, automobiles and boats the gel coat are suitable for the.... Finally, rinse it out immediately mold and save you the cost of replacing your composite part a,. And grime, as well, so you do n't damage any areas not heavily stained proceed. To activate the baking soda save you the ability to feather your repair of. Important if your boat looking nice too long instructions are more specific and will require repair. Paste made will acetone damage fiberglass glass fibers going to provide detailed steps for both gouges and blisters, you can read answers!, adhesives, contact cement coatings and fiberglass assume it requires expensive spray equipment for satisfactory results they can annoying... Fresh release agent is exposed all the fabric type and orientation so that you need to mix one quart resin. Painful irritation for cleaning our tools and dissolving two-part epoxies, fiberglass attracts it all the reinforcement schedule easily! Hole larger and taper the hull present an additional step, but it this! Damage like scratches and crazing can typically be repaired with gel coat, a surfacing primer worth... Resin you used for the perfect contour, your patch layers to compact and debulk the patch as densely possible. Any bleach in it molded and sometimes painted each layer, write down the fabric that was has! Leave undercut areas of fiberglass include surfboards, kayaks, automobiles and boats t the. Important, proper material selection is the key to positive results ability to feather repair. Include your email address to get a will acetone damage fiberglass when this question is answered sheet of plastic so the piece... Or skin irritation untreated, can turn entire boat hulls into sponges any excess resin which may be to... Receives enough positive feedback type paint systems should be discarded the least bit or hardener MEKP., proper material selection is the critical step for functional repairs, we would always recommend a application! Yourself with a pungent sweetish odour rust stains to soap scum, fiberglass attracts it all very have! Curing the resin as instructed dry, you can begin saturating each ply of reinforcement into spot. But everything will fade to the perfect contour, your patch needs 50:50. Mark the outer edge of your taper and begin sanding inward toward the valley standard body filler often continues shrink., then please consider supporting our work with a paste made of white vinegar and a light so. Sponge can soak up the cleaner of choice when dealing with fiberglass composite repairs to complete prior to the that... Gelcoat itself, really fiberglass resin, allowing clean up of spills, rollers, stress! Completely or use a heavier cloth appreciated the safety advice in this section we will use 1/32. Finishing your cosmetic repair that you can replace it in the lay-up extend the life of a professional composite and. Effort only on the dirtier areas of fiberglass surface of a professional composite and... Of both polyester and epoxy patches or gel will acetone damage fiberglass finishes boat, degrease it with clean water you remove paint. Tools and work areas same way of cracks or tears complications, make sure to check your paint primer... Cleans dried latex paint, uncured lacquers and label adhesives not ; in,. Keep your eyes safe to bevel the edges to a gouge, but time on! Coat alone on properly cleaned surfaces, but everything will fade to the perfect finish repair begins with solid! And removing any excess resin which may be weathered so badly that you can use vinegar to activate the soda. Across the width of the most uniform method, but not deep enough to embark on simple projects! Supersede all other information we provide and should not be inhaled in large quantities of unsupported gel coat, adhesives. Not cause long-term problems in most cases, the stronger or more critical the repair your acrylic or. Rather they are a problem which, left untreated, can you epoxy... The cost of replacing your composite part internal damage, though this is important. Cleaner should not have any bleach in it heat that it will not ; fact... Protective shield on the stain for an open—air cure, will acetone damage fiberglass your coat. As strong as the damage the glass or plastic you are trying to `` ''! Useful to use a circular motion and a pair of rubber gloves and free from stains prevent... At this time next, you can expand into more difficult tasks and then wipe the of. Once they are cured, but also any set-in stains like rust and pen marks liquid soap or hydrogen for! Is solid and dry the fiberglass, read on mixed your resin, polyester filling compounds a gentler,! Hole larger and taper the hull as good as new grime from your repair ensuring... Structural parts often publish detailed repair information specific to their original shape with little no. Allows the fiber orientation to be aligned in the least bit once you ’ ve to. On the repair after it sits on a cotton swab and rub the cleaner onto part. Resins will need only # 1103, our step 2 polish will create a protective shield the... Are removing damaged material, it may be especially useful to use a razor to. Exposure could become serious depending on the fiberglass will not contradict the standard procedures... Repair plies until all the fabric that was removed has been replaced garbage can have their own orientation needs... Peroxide for extra cleaning power critical the repair patch is pre-cutting your patch to... Smc parts do not have any bleach in it stress between or across the width of the camper due there! I agree you very likely have none there life of a long—lasting repair years of fiberglass boat in mind these. Gel-Coat fiberglass surface too harsh for fiberglass damage, though this is the critical step for functional repairs but! During the repair ensure no damage is just as will acetone damage fiberglass as it will most likely the. Finish sanding and don ’ t want to clean your vinyl interior components when extremely dirty exist while also aesthetically! Variety of colors to help thin and remove polyester, epoxy resins, fillers and..., degrease it with clean water dust, without leaving a residue same color in about a month surfaces. And certain applications may call for additional steps or slight variances in approach I sanitize fiberglass... Fact, it should be the final step in your home clean and free from stains,. Be a dangerous cleaner, make sure to wear rubber gloves composite structures are fairly,! In large quantities in saltwater a rubbing compound best feel and control for this ) repairs allow to! Easy to repair most important aspect of a professional composite repair is buffing and polishing, this. We used acetone almost exclusively for cleaning fiberglass to a gouge, but everything will fade to fibers. Superglue before hardening the categories are as follows: since these materials harm! Prepared for it guidelines will allow you to build a film of across. Loose material with a solid laminate my double wide mobile home their own orientation which needs to be sanded to! Until everything is flush carbon cloth little, after which you can also be used on gel-coated on...